New animal drawings go on display at Wightwick

The Lion, one of the four Webb animal drawings at Wightwick Manor

The Lion, one of the four Webb animal drawings at Wightwick Manor

Four beautiful pencil and watercolour drawings of animals have recently gone on display at Wightwick Manor. Drawn by the architect and designer Philip Speakman Webb (1831–1915) the drawings have historic connections to both Wightwick Manor and the Wolverhampton area.

Philip Speakman Webb was an associate of the textile designer, artist and writer William Morris (1834-1896), a central figure in Wightwick’s history responsible for many of its interior wallpaper and textile designs.

Webb was taught to sketch by his father, but became an architect. He worked at the practice run by George Edmund Street (1824 – 1881) before moving to London in 1856 where he met Morris.

Webb designed The Red House at Bexley Heath for Morris, his design reflecting a love of local and traditional materials and together they founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) in 1877.

Webb retired from active practice as an architect in 1900 and died on 17 April 1915.

The animal drawings

The drawings are of national significance, especially with regard to the development of the Arts and Craft movement. In 1896 they were purchased by Laurence Hodson, a Wolverhampton industrialist who lived at Compton Hall, a property adjacent to the Wightwick Estate which also featured decorative schemes by Morris. Hodson is likely to have known Wightwick's owner, Theodore Mander, although there is no evidence to suggest that they were friends.

The drawings remained in the Hodson family’s possession until their recent sale.

Find out when Wightwick Manor is open for you to enjoy these new drawings.